Electrolytic Capacitor Shoot-Out

Discussion in 'Marantz Audio' started by patfont, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. patfont

    patfont AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Post #527 is my final parts list for the 2220B refurb.

    If you do not feel like going through 20+ pages here is a list were the results are:

    Post numbers: 18, 24, 35, 36, 40, 90, 163, 170, 221, 263, 276, 278, 282, 305, 320, 323.

    Ok, I have been wanting to do this for a while, and have finally gotten around to it. I will be replacing the caps in my other Marantz 2220B, P/S board. I have on order the following:

    Panasonic FC- the old stand by
    Elna Silmic II-Seems to be the favorite but we will see
    Elna Cerafine-Said to sound very close to Black Gates, got my interest
    Nichicon KZ- Could be the sleeper here

    Will rate each set of installed caps in 7 areas:

    Are they smooth and tube like or to the solid state side
    Sound Stage: width and depth
    Low level/inner detail
    Rhythm and drive

    Will probably get my order from Digi-Key first so probably the FC and Silmic getting here 1st.

    Will update as things progress, want to get to the bottom of which really is the best sounding capacitor for the Classic Marantz Receivers.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  2. ccheath

    ccheath Got an Idea! Subscriber

  3. Jailtime

    Jailtime Standin' on a corner Subscriber


    Been using FC for a long time. About to try Silmic II in a couple projects though. Looking forward to your conclusions.
  4. harleyrider

    harleyrider New Member

    Me too i have a 2250B i want to get into soon .................
  5. robbe_15

    robbe_15 New Member

  6. mech986

    mech986 AK Subscriber Subscriber

  7. anderslober

    anderslober Yikes...not again! Subscriber

    I use Panasonic FC/FM.........Silmic's are great too.
  8. patfont

    patfont AK Subscriber Subscriber

    The Panasonic FC Caps have been installed

    The FC's have been installed and are running now to let them break in a little before I do any serious listening.

    P/S Board ready:


    The Panasonic FC Caps:




    Why the heck am I doing this anyway? Well I got a 1070 from the famous XYZ Marantz rebuilder, and I emailed him to let him know I was not really happy with the sound. The high end sounded etched, and there was no extreme foundational low end. He said that I was the first person out of 300+ who has had a concern. So I replaced the Phono Board with Silmic II and it helped a bit in smoothing out the high end but it was still not ok to me, and low end was unchanged. So I replaced the P/S Caps with Silmic II-"Bingo." High end nice and smooth low end reaches now to the subterranean level. P/S board caps can make a huge difference.

    So here we have it, first up Panasonic FC caps.

    After a real quick listen I can see why they are the de-facto standard Marantz replacement caps. They are very flat and accurate and really do nothing wrong. After a bit of a break in I will report on their performance in the 7 areas I mentioned earlier in another post.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  9. dumptruck

    dumptruck AK Subscriber Subscriber

    You're only doing power supply caps? I will have a really hard time believing you hear any differences between brands there, but kudos for writing up your test nonetheless. Planning on doing anything in the signal path?
  10. patfont

    patfont AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Hi thanks for your interest in this shoot out. When I recap board by board, it goes something like this. P/S caps 75% difference in sound, phono 5%, Pre 10% Amp 10%. So makes sense to shoot out these caps on the P/S board, yes the difference is obvious, please stay tuned. My other Marantz units are all totally recapped so yes I will eventually do that. My 1070 has 1% metal film resistors in the preamp, bypass caps on the P/S Board and Main Amp board and metal polyester foil caps at audio coupling locations. Also foil coupling caps preamp, and Pi filter setup for the main rails.
  11. dumptruck

    dumptruck AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Well, I agree fresh PS caps tend to make a big difference, but that just implies they need replacing the most, not that changes between two new caps of the same value and rating will make a big difference. Anyway, :lurk:.
  12. roger2

    roger2 . Subscriber

    For power supply you should try Panasonic FM. It has lower ESR than the Panasonic FC and most likely lower than the others in your list.

    my .02c

    carry on, interesting thread
  13. patfont

    patfont AK Subscriber Subscriber

    FYI Recordings used in evaluation

    Red Norvo Quintet:The Forward Look Reference Recordings **Sound Stage , rythem.
    Roxy Music: Avalon **Sound Stage
    The Sheffield Drum Record: Jim Keltner Side ** Bass, Low level detail, highs
    Cat Stevens: Tea for the Tillerman MFSL OMR ** Midrange, Bass
    Gino Vannelli: Powerful People MFSL OMR ** Rythem and Drive, highs
    Joni Mitchell: Wild Things Run Fast ** Midrange, Tube or solid state sound, vocals

    Sade: Diamond Life **Imaging and sound stage , midrange, vocals
    E.T. Soundtrack: (The song Abandoned and Pursued) The low end is amazing, comes at you from under the floor and travels up your legs, cool! ** Lowest bass octave
    Dire Straights: Love over Gold ** Low level detail, tube or solid state sound
    Elvis Costello: Imperial Bedroom ** Midrange, vocals
    Dafos: Reference Recordings, song "The Gates of Dafos" The monster drum on stage falls over and it is on the recording-scary. ** Bass
    Gino Vannelli: Storm at Sunup Midrange, sound stage, vocals, highs
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  14. PB_Audio

    PB_Audio New Member

    Would you say that the P/S caps tend to be in greater need of replacing, on these older receivers, than the other boards?
    If so, I guess the older 2245 & 2270 would benefit even more by a P/S recap, not to mention the Model 18 &19, right?
  15. Jailtime

    Jailtime Standin' on a corner Subscriber

    I think dumptruck is right here. Considering that the original PS caps are well baked and out of spec, you will notice a difference with quality new caps, since the PS feeds your tuner and tone sections.

    But given an amp with a restored power supply, I'd bet you would notice more difference between cap brands by "rolling" caps in the tone amp.

    Still looking forward to your conclusions though. And I like FCs, they're nice to look at. :D

    PS caps are generally exposed to the greatest amount of heat. You will often see their wraps shrunken down below the top of the cap. Often, it's a good idea to replace diodes and transistors on a power supply board. Some Marantz (see 2275) benefit from modifying the location of the resistors. There's a big 5W on the 2275 that needs to be raised off the board.
  16. patfont

    patfont AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Please see post #8, and please stay tuned. I did replace brand spanking new Chemi Con's in my 1070 with Silmic II and found a huge difference. In the next day or so when I write up the FC results you will see who they are for, and who they are not for.

    Also please tread lightly on me here guys and give me a chance. When I was recapping I searched the whole world wide web, and I saw no one any where that is actually replacing at least some caps in an actual Marantz receiver and then systematically listening to them. I have only read oh this cap sounds like this and that cap sounds like this. Please trust me on this it will all make sense in the end there is a method to the madness here.
  17. Satcom123

    Satcom123 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    True enough. I have the popcorn ready. This should be interesting to hear the results.
  18. patfont

    patfont AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Panasonic FC Results

    I am very happy to report and at ease to say that the Panasonic FC’s reputation as the de-facto standard for cap replacement is well founded.

    *******The over all sound in a nut shell:

    Kind of like a calibration standard cartridge, very flat and accurate across the board. Very polite and listenable, I could listen for hours to these in my receiver.


    1. 2D sound, not much of a sound stage here
    2. Extreme low end is rolled off
    3. Extreme highs are recessed
    4. Vocals are thin sounding and do not have much body

    The above shortcomings may be meaningless to 90% of the people. If you want to restore your Marantz to like new condition and get back your frequency extremes and smoothness by all means I really enjoyed these. If you are using your Marantz with vintage speakers and regular speaker wire and a mid-fi cartridge the above shortcomings will probably not matter, but you will hear that your frequency extremes have been restored.

    So I may be getting away from the spirit of this forum, which is restoration of the Marantz units, but I am looking for a little more here. For the 10% that have a modern speaker that images well and is at a minimum -3db down at 43hz, has Kimber 4TC or Speltz Anti-Cables or better and a nice cartridge you will hear what I did, see below. I am trying for a small taste of the high-end sound here. I have been paying and am now on my 8th year of college tuition (2 kids back to back.) so my funds are not what they used to be. I am all for 90% of the sound for 20% of the money. That is how I ended up here as looking on the net I saw endless quotes on that legendary smooth and sweet Marantz sound. I am trying to squeeze everything I can out of this receiver.

    Low Bass: On the E.T. Soundtrack, “Abandoned and Pursued” there are two extreme low note pulses, you should feel the sound traveling on the floor beneath you and then coming up your legs. The FC’s played the sound but did not move enough air to get the full effect here.

    Bass: Smooth and accurate no bass boom here. On the Sheffeild Drum record however you are not getting the feeling that it is a real set of drums in front of you. (See Sound Stage Below, and Mid/Vocals)

    Mids/Vocals: Some what thin and 2D sounding. On vocals it should sound like there is body and depth to the vocals, and it should sound like an actual person standing between the speakers singing. On Gino Vannelli, Storm at Sun Up the song Getting High, the vocals should sound huge and full; with the FC’s they do it on a smaller scale.

    Highs: The extreme highs are a bit recessed; things that I am used to hearing on certain recordings are a bit reduced in level.

    Solid State or Tube Sound: For me they are a solid-state sound all the way and in the best imaginable way. You will not be running out of the room holding your ears with these babies. A very polite and accurate sound, very listenable. However I do love that warm sheen and glowing sound of tubes.

    Sound Stage: The FC’s sound a little 2D to me; sound stage is not deep and only extends a little to the outsides of the speakers. On Avalon, “While my Heart Is Still Beating” the opening sound expanse should be a huge stage spread out across the front well to the outside of the speakers, the FC’s squeeze it to just outside the speakers.

    Low Level detail: On Dire Straits “Private Investigation” the breath sound and the throwing and breaking of the glass is only noticeable if you really listen for it. And again on the sound stage the thrown glass sounds like it is 2 ft behind the speaker should be much deeper in the stage. On the Drum record when the brush is rubbing across the drum skin it had a smooth metallic feel and sound. You should get the feel and be able to hear and say to yourself I can actually hear the drum skin.

    Rhythm/Drive: I did not do much toe tapping here, on Gino Vanelli’s People Gotta Move the sound can really be pulsing at you and it starts and stops quick, the FC’s are just ok at this.

    In summary: Despite what seem like severe nit picks here I really enjoyed the politeness smoothness and listen ability of the FC’s. I can see why people love them if the sound stage was a bit better and the vocals had a little more body I would be stoked on these.

    The above is only my opinion, and can hopefully be used as a guide. More important is system matching, if you are running speakers that are a little boomy in the bass, then you do not want to match them with caps that are huge in the bass.

    Up next will be the Elna Silmic II’s just waiting for UPS

    *******Shortcomings key, I do have a totally recapped 2220B, so I know what the unit is capable of and what these recordings should sound like.

    Sorry this is so long, and again please tread lightly here I am trying to do something that I really can not find on the internet anywhere, what the caps really sound like installed in the Marantz receiver.
  19. PB_Audio

    PB_Audio New Member

    From the various Marantz pieces you've recapped and/or refurbed, did you find a consistant and predictable sonic improvement, regardless of the age of the piece, AND where it fell in the price range for its age, that you can directly attribute to the quality of the caps? I hope that would be the case. My impression, increasingly, is that it will make a big sonic difference whether we are talking old or older, or whether the piece is the top or bottom of the line. And, wouldn't that be the desired result.
    I'm glad you're taking the time to run this 'test'. If we're going to the trouble to refurb our own stuff, why not use the very best sounding replacement parts?
    So, thanks for going to all the trouble.
  20. Jailtime

    Jailtime Standin' on a corner Subscriber

    Now this is interesting! :D Looking forward to your impressions of the Silmic II, I have those coming for a friend's 2245 right now.

    Even if Silmic II comes out on top, there's some values you just can't get. That's what I like about FC, wide selection of values.

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